The High Court (HC) has issued a rule asking government authorities concerned to explain why their inaction on banning the portrayal of smoking and tobacco products in movies and plays should not be declared illegal.
At the same time, the court also ordered the authorities concerned to explain why they should not be directed to strictly enforce the smoking and tobacco control law.
The High Court bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Rajik Al Jalil on Tuesday passed the rulings after hearing a public interest litigation case.
The court asked secretaries to the ministries of Public Health and Family Planning, Law, Home Affairs and Information, and the chairman of the Bangladesh Film Censor Board, to respond to the rule within four weeks.
Earlier on 3 February, a writ petition was filed with the High Court seeking its directives to control and stop the use of smoking and tobacco products in movie and drama scenes.
Lawyer Moniruzzaman Lincoln filed the writ petition on behalf of Bangladesh Cancer Society, anti-drug organisation 'Pratasha', and Population Development Organisation (PDO).
Advocate Moniruzzaman told reporters that in most cases, laws on the portrayal of smoking and tobacco products are ineffective. That is why a writ petition was filed, seeking redress to the problem.
On 11 March last year, a legal notice was served to the secretaries of Health and Family Planning, Law, Home and Information, and the Chairman of the Bangladesh Film Censor Board, to amend Section 14 (2) of the Smoking and Tobacco Use (Control) Act, 2005, and to ensure proper implementation of the Act.
Not getting a reply to the above mentioned legal notice, Lawyer Moniruzzaman then filed a fresh writ petition to the same effect on behalf of the Bangladesh Cancer Society and other parties.